You are here

Plankinton Arcade of Grand Avenue Mall

-A A +A
1916, 1925, Holabird and Roche. 161 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The original Plankinton Arcade borrows from a late-eighteenth-century European urban tradition: the glass-covered pedestrian street lined with shops. Americans adopted the idea, placing the buildings in a city block rather than enclosing streets, and these galleries became the forerunners of enclosed suburban shopping malls. The structure enclosing Plankinton Arcade was two stories tall in 1916. In 1926, the same architects added five floors of offices over the stores. They repeat the glazed white terra-cotta exterior. Inside the arcade, the shopping levels are banded by iron railings, as lines of rhythmic segmental arches spring overhead from composite capitals. Both ends of the mall feature Gothic-motif plaster and ironwork elevator towers. The skylit central rotunda displays chandeliers and a statue of wealthy nineteenth-century entrepreneur John Plankinton, which originally graced the Plankinton Hotel on this site. Four staircases curve down from the statue to basement-level offices that formerly housed a large bowling alley, pool hall, Turkish bath, restaurant, and bar.

From 1916 through the 1920s, Plankinton Arcade stood at the heart of the bustling shopping district along W. Wisconsin (then Grand) Avenue. As part of the Grand Avenue Mall urban renewal restoration in the early 1980s, skywalks linked the arcade to a new shopping arcade to the west and a department store on the east.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
×

Data

What's Nearby

Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Plankinton Arcade of Grand Avenue Mall", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-MI57.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 97-98.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,